With their tall, flat, prominent surfaces, the rear ends of transport truck trailers make an ideal advertising platform. Given that such trucks travel across continents, however, the ads on them can't be for regional businesses … right? Well, they soon could. Germany's RoadAds has developed e-ink displays that are mounted on the back of trailers, and that automatically change content depending on their location.
Created in partnership with Mercedes and electronic signage company Visionect, each water- and dust-proof RoadAd board is made up of four 32-inch e-ink screens, joined edge-to-edge to create one 3 x 5-foot (0.9 x 1.5-m) display.
Unlike LED or LCD screens, their display can be seen in bright sunlight, and they only use power (supplied by the truck's battery) when changing content. Additionally, because they don't emit light, they won't dazzle drivers following behind at night.
Each unit is equipped with GPS, 4G and Wi-Fi modules. The idea is that when the GPS determines that the truck is in the right location (it's accurate up to 16 ft/4.8 m), it will download and display the appropriate local advertising from RoadAds' server. In the event that the truck is in an area with no coverage, all of the ads are also buffered within the unit, and can be accessed and displayed manually using an app on a mobile device.
Along with advertising, however, the boards could also be used to display real-time data such as weather warnings, notifications of upcoming road accidents and traffic jams, or other important information.
RoadAds is now accepting preorders, and expects the first 1,000 displays to be commercially available by next June. That said, five RoadAd-equipped trucks will be hitting the road this November, as part of a trial. In the meantime, you can see them in action in the video below.